I believe our mountains are the most beautiful landscape God sculpted into His Earthly Kingdom. These mountains are home to more than just coal, lumber, and wildlife. These mountains house the most kind hearted, faithful, and friendly people you will ever meet. I’m convinced the Lord must love us a little extra. Why else would He have us live in a land that is a constant embrace?
But friend, there may come a day when you will have to leave our mountains. That day will move your heart in ways that cannot be described by mere words. Your heart will quiver with anticipation and excitement at the opportunities coming your way. And then your heart will crumble because you will leave behind everything you’ve ever known.
But your journey is just beginning, and while it will be a breathtaking adventure, there will also be days you feel like the wind has been knocked out of you. On those days you will need the strength these hills have instilled in you. Your values, your morals, your beliefs have been sewn into you and rooted deeply. You have heard the voice of God in these mountains as often as you’ve heard it in the church house. These mountains made you who you are. You know it’s not easy leaving home, but You’re strong enough for this.
Over the years, outsiders have stopped realizing how capable the people of our mountains truly are. We have been stripped of many opportunities and without you to show them, people will forget who we are. You are leaving these mountains to new uncharted territory that we are unfamiliar with. But you go with a mission, not with a vengeance. Go catch every chance you can. Learn. Explore. Dream. Grow. And later, come home to these hills and show us everything you’ve conquered along the way and how you can help us develop. You’re not leaving because you don’t love our home. Trust me, I know.
Friend, you will move mountains. And I mean that literally. We are mountain people, and we are all the more beautiful because of it. As you go out into the world, I want you to move mountains to the forefront of peoples minds when they think of successful individuals. Go out there and show them how intelligent we are, show them how special we are, impress them with our heritage, and please don’t ever let them change the way you speak. Trust me, they will try. Down the road, when you look back at our mountains, promise me you won’t look back at them with anything less than pride. Because these mountains have given you everything they have to offer.
These mountains are where you were raised. You fell in love in these hills. This is where your family is. Your friends call this place home. The mountains sing to you. No matter where you roam, nothing will ever compare to Eastern Kentucky. Our mountains made you. Now go out there and show this world what you’re made of.